Shopping is an inevitable part of our daily lives. Every now and then, we have to visit stores either to stock up on our basic necessities or to fuel our desire to keep up with the trends.
Sometimes we walk into a departmental store, sometimes a supermarket, and at times, even a hypermarket to get things ticked off our shopping list. But have you ever wondered how these three differ from each other? What are their functions, and how well do they cater to customers' needs?
If yes, you have come to the right page. Today, we're going to touch upon the key differences between hypermarkets vs. supermarkets vs. departmental stores and try to find out which one is most beneficial to customers.
2) Hypermarket Vs. Supermarket Vs. Departmental Stores: What are they?
A departmental store is a large store selling a variety of products under one roof by segregating them into different departments. Products like food items, stationery, clothing items, and many more things are available at such stores.
The concept of departmental stores came into existence in the 19th century following the industrial revolution, with Howell & Co. being the first departmental store that was opened in London in 1796.
A supermarket is a bigger version of a grocery store. It includes every item from food to household goods to kitchen belongings and much more. Unlike grocery stores, in supermarkets products are arranged in different aisles. Customers can walk in, browse through the shelves in the different aisles (which are usually organized by product category), select the items they need, put them in their shopping carts, and finally move towards the billing counter.
An interesting feature of supermarkets is the operating time which is longer than departmental stores.
A hypermarket is a combination of a departmental store and a supermarket. It's huge and consists of almost everything from grocery items, furniture, and electronics to cafes, parlors, spas, etc. The basic motive of bringing such places to life is to provide customers with all facilities under one roof.
Usually, customers visit hypermarkets with the aim of buying necessary items and satisfying their cravings for restaurant-made food.
3) Hypermarket Vs. Supermarket Vs. Departmental Store: Key differences
Though all three modes of selling prioritize customer needs, they approach them in their own distinct ways. Let's see the distinction between the three one by one.
3.1)Department Store vs. Supermarket
A departmental store is a big retail store offering numerous products belonging to different departments. A supermarket, on the other hand, is a huge self-service retail store selling food items and household goods to a wide range of customers.
Even though supermarkets are large, they're smaller as compared to departmental stores. They are usually limited to a single floor, whereas departmental stores are spread over multiple levels.
A departmental store generally offers products offered by different industries, for instance hardware, fashion, medicine, jewelry, etc. In contrast, a supermarket is generally limited to food and household goods.
3.2)Supermarket vs. Hypermarket
Even though supermarkets are large, they're quite small when compared to hypermarkets. Hypermarkets comprise a wide variety of FMCG products. But while they're not too welcoming or attractive like supermarkets, they are a one-stop solution for many shoppers.
If you happen to like personalized services, like salesmen assisting you throughout your shopping journey, a supermarket would be the best bet. Contrary to that, if you know what you want and don't need any additional help, you can always walk into a hypermarket.
From the pricing aspect, hypermarkets are a lot cheaper and offer products at their original or discounted prices, whereas supermarkets extract extra out of people's pockets using their marketing gimmicks.
Comparing the three together, departmental stores are mostly dependent upon demand. Means, if there's a particular product that's been purchased by too many people, it is likely to be available in the store as compared to something that's brought by a handful of people.
However, in the case of supermarkets and hypermarkets, products are available in bulk. Again, since these two are selling in bulk, their profit margin is quite lower to what departmental stores make annually.
4) Hypermarket Vs. Supermarket Vs. Departmental Store: Pros & Cons of each
All three stores, be it the departmental, supermarket, or hypermarket, come with certain pros and cons. Here's what you can expect from them-
4.1)Pros of Hypermarkets
For anyone who lives near a hypermarket, buying groceries, hardware items, stationary, etc., is a cakewalk. You just have to take a trip to the hypermarket, add whatever you need in your shopping cart, and walk toward the billing counter.
Since hypermarkets buy products in bulk, they're able to negotiate lower pricing from vendors. Also, vendors are more likely to offer reasonable pricing to a hypermarket than an independent store in hopes of gaining more by selling a larger number of products at lower prices.
c)Longer opening hours
Look at any departmental store or supermarket, and you won't miss out on a large board with the opening hours visible in bold. On the contrary, hypermarkets are operational for longer periods. Some are even operating 24 hours a day and become more helpful in the case of any emergency.
4.2)Cons of Hypermarkets
Most hypermarkets are constructed on the outskirts of cities to meet their space requirements. This, in turn, forces customers to travel for hours, covering long distances and burning a lot of fuel to reach their destination.
b)No personal attention
Hypermarkets have a limited marketing and advertising policy. They believe in providing customers with what they need without adding any hidden costs.
Another thing you might not find in these stores is people guiding you throughout your shopping experience. That's because their basic aim is to cater to customers who are sure about what they want rather than duping them with marketing gimmicks.
4.3)Pros of Supermarkets
a)Freedom of selection
Often, when a product isn't available at a particular store, we satisfy ourselves by purchasing its replacement. That's not the case at supermarkets. With a wide variety of products available at these stores, customers don't have to settle for something they don’t want.
Not all customers are great at bargaining. Some prefer stores with reasonable prices where they don't need to ask for discounts. Supermarkets have fixed prices with few or no discount options. This works well in favor of customers who don't like negotiating for their favored products.
c)Availability of all goods
Since supermarkets buy goods in bulk, they offer everything from standard goods, goods of daily needs, and gourmet products placed under one roof. Ergo, customers don't have to scour through multiple stores to find what they need. They can simply walk towards the aisle where their product has been placed and add it to their carts.
4.4)Cons of Supermarkets
a)Spoiled perishable goods
Supermarkets deal in a lot of perishable goods like fruits, vegetables, dairy products, etc., and they are at risk of getting spoiled if not sold within a limited time. Many times, customers take spoiled products home without noticing and then have to travel all the way back to the supermarket to get them replaced or demand a refund.
b)Unavailability of technical goods
Supermarkets don't stock up on technical items mainly due to a lack of experienced personnel to provide after-sales service.
c)Difficult for customers to make a decision
Supermarkets, like hypermarkets, have no appointed salesmen. Hence customers are on their own to choose a product even if they haven't used it before. This, at times, becomes tough for customers, especially when they've taken the wrong product home a couple of times.
4.5)Pros of Departmental Stores
a)Assurity of standard products
Departmental stores generally deal in standard products. They seldom go after cheap items to have a better profit margin. Instead, they make a good fortune out of gourmet products, in turn giving customers full worth of their money.
b)Impeccable after-sales service
Departmental stores never stop at selling products; they provide great after-sales service to customers. Most of their products come with a guarantee, wherein they can turn to the store in the case of any problem.
c)Provide assistance to customers
Departmental stores hire experienced personnel to deal with customer queries. These professionals advise customers on their purchases and even assist them in making better choices.
4.6)Cons of Departmental Stores
a)Lack of credit facility
While shopping at a nearby store, if you run short of money, the shopkeeper will offer you the product saying you can pay for it on your next visit. However, that's not the case with departmental stores. In such stores, either you make full payment for your products or leave them aside in case you're carrying less money.
Since departmental stores only sell standard or gourmet goods, they're unable to offer larger discounts. Instead, they charge you full and some additional amount for providing parking, restroom services, and other add-ons.
5) Hypermarket Vs. Supermarket Vs. Departmental Store: Saving money when you shop at each
Saving money is an art not many can master. People can easily get fooled by marketing gimmicks and large discounts, but if you keep the following points in mind, you'll never get carried away at departmental stores or supermarkets.
5.1)For departmental stores
a)Shop at departmental store outlets
A departmental store outlet doesn't necessarily have to be a brick-and-mortar store. It can be an online one too.
That being said, shopping at outlets is more beneficial as most products available at outlets are either from end-of-season clearance from the full-priced store or specifically bought to meet the demands of that outlet. Hence, the prices are way lesser than the original departmental store.
b)Stack departmental store coupons
If you pay the full price of all your products, you'll always be exceeding your budget. Contrary to that, if you have stacked up discount coupons at your disposal, you can easily get a price cut on shopping at both online and brick-and-mortar stores.
c)Don't ignore coupon apps
Apart from the official website or app of the departmental store, many other apps provide cashback and rebates. You can easily sign up for these and get huge discounts every time you shop. You can double the profit by applying both your discount coupons and cashback from particular apps too.
d)Don't get carried away by large discounts
Many times, consumers go on a shopping spree seeing big discounts. Result: they often end up buying things they never needed. If you want to avoid that situation, pay attention to only those items that are your absolute priority at that moment.
a)Always carry a shopping list
Supermarkets are known for luring customers with attractive deals and offers. If you walk into a supermarket without a proper list, you might end up exceeding your budget. So why take chances when you can simply jot down the items you require and save a good amount of money.
Phrases like "buy 1 get 1 free" or "flat 50% discount" or any other common marketing gimmicks might make you add extra items into your shopping cart.
But before making that mistake, always question yourself whether or not you need that product. If the answer is yes, surely purchase them, but if it's a no, move away immediately.
6) Hypermarket Vs. Supermarket Vs. Departmental Store: Which store is most likely to succeed in the future and why?
It is actually tough to say which store will succeed the most in the future among hypermarkets vs. supermarkets vs. departmental stores because it depends on a lot of factors.
If price is the main aspect, hypermarkets have a brighter future. Since they offer products at a lower price than what most stores demand, they have a higher chance of succeeding in the future.
Contrary to that, if standard products are customers' first priority, then departmental stores will do much more justice than supermarkets and hypermarkets. Moreover, since departmental stores are known for offering high-quality products, customers will easily move toward them.
Coming to supermarkets, if customers value deals and discounts more than lower prices and quality products, supermarkets will see more demand as compared to hypermarkets and departmental stores.
At the end of the day, it is the customer who will take any store to huge heights.
Among hypermarket vs. supermarket vs. departmental stores, all three have the ability to become consumers' favorites only if they cater to their needs to the letter. Since different customers have different needs, one can't possibly choose a winner out of the three, but if it's the price we had to go with, then hypermarkets would always rule.